Northern Ireland failed to break a run of bad luck in away fixtures after being beaten 2-0 by Bosnia & Herzegovina last night in Sarajevo.
This is their third defeat in the Nations League Cup and sees them sitting at the bottom of League B Group 3. Michael O’Neill is said to disappointed as his side had chances but couldn’t convert on the night. George Saville missed the first opportunity for Northern Ireland to go ahead on 15 minutes when Steven Davis sent in a perfect cross but even though he’s the got the room he hits it wide. Saville got another chance on 19 minutes from a Jamal Lewis cross, but ball rebounded off the inside of the post. Bosnia broke the deadlock shortly after that when youngster Jamal Lewis slipped which led to Dzeko finding the back of the net for the hosts.
Dzeko scored again three minutes later but goal disallowed as ref’s assistant calls offside. Bosnia continued to apply pressure and Bailey-Peacock saved another effort from Dzeko. It was 1-0 to the hosts going into the second half and Bosnia continued to look dangerous with Bailey Peacock saving two attempts from Dzeko and Saric. Oxford United’s Gavin Whyte came on for Norwood and had a great opportunity to equaliser for the visitors just moments after he came on, but his shot rebounded off the post. Northern Ireland were punished again for giving the hosts too much room in the box which saw Deko score the second for the hosts in the 72nd minute.
More chances were created by George Saville and Gavin Whyte in the last fifteen minutes, but neither could convert. Michael O’Neill was frustrated with the result and the lack of conviction for converting chances, but he remains optimistic for the future.
Michael O ‘Neill told the media post-match “”We don’t have that player who can win you games when it’s tight. So, when opportunities come our way we must take them – in these three games we have had numerous chances, but we’ve not taken them.”
He went on to say “”It was the timing of the misses that hurt us – if we had gone ahead then the whole dynamic of the game would have changed. George hits the post and should have scored before that but then there’s a mistake from Jamal (Lewis) and Dzeko punishes us. Then we should have been level with young Gavin’s chance and we are punished again. There were positive aspects of the performance but we’re still a work in progress and there’s aspects of the display that need to be addressed. It was not an experienced team and hopefully these games will make us more game savvy when the European qualifiers come around.”